I’ve shared before that one of my favorite poems of all time is "Seal Lullaby," by Rudyard Kipling. Today, I’m sharing another Kipling poem. On NPR this morning, they were discussing outsourcing and the effect of computerizing and digitalizing on our economy. I went looking this morning for another Kipling poem to share, since I love the above one sooooooooooo much. This one caught my eye, probably because it tied into the radio show and also to some science fiction story ideas I’ve been playing with.
The Secret of the Machines
by Rudyard Kipling
We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,
We were melted in the furnace and the pit—
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,
We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:
And now, if you will set us to our task,
We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!
We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,
We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,
We can run and race and swim and fly and dive,
We can see and hear and count and read and write!
Would you call a friend from half across the world?
If you’ll let us have his name and town and state,
You shall see and hear your crackling question hurled
Across the arch of heaven while you wait.
Has he answered? Does he need you at his side?
You can start this very evening if you choose,
And take the Western Ocean in the stride
Of seventy thousand horses and some screws!
Read the second half here!
Here are some lines near the end I love, too:
But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
If you make a slip in handling us you die!
The fantastic Sara Lewis Holmes has the Poetry Friday roundup today!